The future of food and farming: challenges and choices for global sustainability

The future of food and farming: challenges and choices for global sustainability

Food production and the food system must assume a higher priority in political agendas across the world

The global food system will experience an unprecedented combination of pressures over the next 40 years. Global population size will increase and competition for land, water and energy will intensify, while the effects of climate change will become increasingly apparent. Over this period, globalisation will continue, exposing the food system to novel economic and political pressures.

This final report of the Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures Project argues that decisive action needs to take place now. The report identifies five considerable challenges ahead:

  • balancing future demand and supply sustainably to ensure that food supplies are affordable
  • ensuring that there is adequate stability in food supplies and protecting the most vulnerable from the volatility that does occur
  • achieving global access to food and ending hunger
  • managing the contribution of the food system to the mitigation of climate change
  • maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services while feeding the world.
 Priorities for action include: 
  • spreading of best practice
  • making sustainable food production central in development activities
  • working on the assumption that there is little new land for agriculture
  • ensuring long-term sustainability of fish stocks
  • including the environment in food system economics
  • reducing waste
  • improving the evidence base upon which decisions are made and developing metrics to assess progress
  • anticipating major issues with water availability for food production
  • working to change consumption patterns
  • empowering citizens.
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